5 Contributing Factors Leading to Playground Safety Issues by Gabrielle Grimes, Kipcon, Inc.
With warm weather, trips to the park become more frequent. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with the risks of playground equipment. They don’t make them like they used to, and that’s a good thing!
A good question is, “what is playground safety?” There are an estimated 220,000 playground equipment-related injuries annually. About 76% are on public playgrounds, and the remaining 24% are on residential playgrounds. A major cause of injuries is by falls, but there are other reasons, too.
Five contributing factors that can lead to playground safety issues and injuries include:
- Improper use/ poor supervision
- Poor maintenance
- Inappropriate design
- Installation errors
- Site planning issues
To reduce liability, develop a program to ensure the safety of children on playgrounds. Conduct a detailed audit of the play equipment and surfacing. Ask questions about general considerations such as:
- Do obvious hazards exist in the playground area?
Obvious hazards can include broken equipment, holes in grade, and debris. Other hazardous factors to consider nearby include:
- Roads with traffic
- Dangerous drop-offs
- Bodies of water including ponds, streams, and fountains.
Other important considerations:
- Any material tested to ASTEM F1292, including rubber mats or tiles, sand, wood mulch, and wood chips are acceptable materials for playground equipment. Unacceptable materials are asphalt, carpet, concrete, dirt, grass, and CCA treated wood mulch.
- The equipment should be age appropriate. Where mixed age groups are to use the playground, equipment should be segregated by age group as much as possible and proper signage indicating appropriate age levels for all equipment should be posted prominently.
In summary, develop a playground safety action plan and do regular inspection and maintenance. Kids learn by taking risks, it’s our job to eliminate the hazards!
About the Author
Gabrille Grimes is a Marketing Specialist with CAI Diamond Partner Kipcon, Inc. Gabby is a CAI Educated Business Partner, chairwoman of the Communications & Content Committee, and member of the PULSE young professionals committee. In 2018, Gabby was recognized with CAI’s Rising Star Award. She can be reached via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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